Airport system is fixed

By Ed Runyan


The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport staff is cleaning up from a tough month that has included a flight rerouted to Toledo, a flooded terminal and a new $430,000 runway sweeper that didn’t work.

Dan Dickten, director of aviation at the airport, said Wednesday the problem with the airport’s Instrument Landing System, which made it impossible for flights by Allegiant Air to land or take off early March 9, was fixed Saturday.

Dickten reported on the matter at the monthly meeting of the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the airport and conducts economic development.

The radarlike system helps guide aircraft landings during poor weather conditions, but the Federal Aviation Administration, which owns, operates and maintains the system, discovered problems with it early last week.

The problem still was not fixed by midweek, despite the FAA’s having six technicians working during the day, at night and through rain and snow, Dickten said.

The airport delayed one flight from Wednesday night to Thursday night and could have had problems with the Thursday flight and one on Saturday, except that weather conditions improved, and the landing equipment wasn’t needed on either day, Dickten said.

Port-authority member Don Hanni said he wishes the FAA would acknowledge that the rerouted flight was the FAA’s fault to diminish the bad publicity the airport got from the problem.

Meanwhile, Erinn Rogers, accounting and business manager for the port authority, said water damage from a flood at the airport terminal Feb. 9 is resulting in insurance claims of $40,000 to $50,000.

Payment to the company that cleaned up the sewer water is $13,500, and construction being done to repair damaged areas is $7,000 to $10,000, Rogers said.

All of the costs are being covered by insurance, including the $2,500 deductible.

Also, airport officials have decided to keep the $430,000 Kodiak runway broom that was delivered to the airport in late January despite the fact that it was in working condition only about two out of the first 28 days the airport had it.

Broken teeth on a pinion gear and problems with a gearbox caused port- authority members to question whether the machine should be returned to the manufacturer.

But officials were advised later that they would have to pay $30,000 in administrative fees out of airport funds to two consulting companies if the contract were voided, Dickten said.

The broom, which is a large truck with a broom on the front, is being paid for with FAA funds.

The broom is working now, and the port authority has authorized half payment for the device — $215,000. The other $215,000 will be paid to Kodiak after 100 hours of trouble-free use.

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